Letter: “Equity” plan requires unequal treatment of students

Dear Editor,

I’ve been trying to understand this goal of equity, so I’ve looked at the equity plan. I found a few things that struck me. The equity plan is intended to ensure equitable access to opportunities and support and resources but clarifies that “equal is not equitable.” So if the plan is designed to allow inequality in order to achieve equitable outcomes, what does that look like in a world that has limited resources? That line “equal is not equitable” isn’t just a throwaway line. It’s pretty important. It opens up an Orwellian system that says that all students are equal, but some are more equal than others.

The school district can’t achieve this utopian goal of equity, but it can do a lot of harm along the way. 

I wanted to know more about where this was coming from, so I made a public records request for all the training materials regarding equity in Alachua County schools. This is what I found.

Teachers are encouraged to read and incorporate the ideas of Ibram Kendi in their classrooms. Kendi says that the only remedy to racist discrimination is anti-racist discrimination. He says, “In order to truly be anti-racist, you have to be an anti-capitalist” because, as Kendi says, “Capitalism is the conjoined twin of racism.” 

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Or Robin DiAngelo. Teachers are encouraged to read and use the ideas of White Fragility, which I’m sure we’re all familiar with. It posits that the world can be divided up into two groups based on race or skin color: the oppressed and the oppressors. 

Or Howard Zinn. Teachers are encouraged to use the Zinn Educational Project. In case you’re not familiar with Howard Zinn, he was a Marxist, a member of the U.S. Communist Party, which was an organization that was funded by the Soviet Union in the ’60s and ’70s in an attempt to destabilize the U.S. from within. Does anyone feel like our country is being destabilized lately?

I’m all about removing barriers to success because as a nation we need every child, every single child, to grow up and be confident, competent, tenacious, resilient, compassionate, eager-to-learn adults, but this divisive talk has got to stop. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want a teacher saying or even thinking about one child as an oppressor and another one as oppressed. Those ideas are poison.

Personally, I recommend that teachers read the ideas of Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King, Thomas Sowell, Jason Riley, or Voddie Baucham. I want teachers and administrators that know that the least important thing about you is the color of your skin, that you can accomplish anything, and everyone is expected to judge everyone else solely by the content of their character.

Ray Holt, LaCrosse

Holt’s comments to the school board on July 20 can be viewed here: